Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07), who used to serve as a CIA officer, was on “Morning Joe” earlier today, speaking about “the arrest of a 21 year old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman who is now accused of taking National Security documents and publishing them online.” Here’s what she had to say:
“[How he even got the documents in the first place is] a question that I certainly want the answers to. As a former CIA officer who handled and collected classified information, the idea that he would have access to such a broad array of
information and be able to exit a building with it is absolutely outrageous to me. As a member of the House intelligence committee, I look forward to very aggressive questions related to how this could have happened, what they know of how he was able to access these documents, what his clearances were, why he had direct access to these documents, and certainly what counterintelligence methods were in place to continue the review of individuals who have access.
As has been reported, this individual spoke in a way that was anti-government at times, expressed doubts about the intelligence community or law enforcement et cetera. And so how does that individual pass a background check to get access to these documents and certainly when he has this
online persona that’s so active and so at odds with the responsibility that he had given his clearance and given
his role in the national Air National Guard. How were there not alarm bells going off about his level of trustworthiness and whether or not he should continue to to have access to
those documents and that clearance?
Any leak is bad. Wholeheartedly, completely, any leak is bad. Any leak can speak to sources and methods, can speak
to the types of relationships and information sharing that we have from our partners who are providing intelligence back to us. Any leaks that provide information about our assessments of foreign governments, foreign leaderships, foreign capabilities, be they our allies or our adversaries. It
is all bad. Within the scope of how bad it is, certainly the Department of State and Department of Defense officials who are doing a lot of the work of calling, engaging directly with their counterparts, certainly taking ownership I would assume of this event and attempting to ensure that the relationships we have are not impacted, is the action that they should be taking.
But frankly, every minute of the day that a Department of State, a national security person or Department of Defense person is taking making phone calls, explaining or excusing or discussing a leak of intelligence out to the public, is a minute of the day that they are not focused on U.S national security interests wholly and fully; is a minute of the day that they are not leading their departments focused on the the service members or the intel or diplomatic professionals that they lead. And it is a distraction that is, in this case, present because one young man released information that he swore an oath to protect. It’s against the law. I thank the FBI and law enforcement for their strong work to ensure that they were able to determine who this leaker was, and I assume that continued action will be clear in the coming months.”
Any leak is bad.
Any leak of classified information can disclose sources and methods, our assessments of foreign adversaries, and our relationships across the globe.
Our allies must be able to trust that our exchanges are secure.
— Rep. Abigail Spanberger (@RepSpanberger) April 14, 2023